Los Angeles Airport 101: The ultimate guide to LAX

Mar 8, 2020

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Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the second-busiest airport in the U.S. and the fourth-busiest in the world. Travelers come from all over the world and pass through on their way to or from far-flung destinations. Traffic is projected to rise to up to 100 million passengers by 2040 — so chances are you, too, may soon transit through LAX. The airport serves as a hub for Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United and is a focus city for Air New Zealand, Allegiant Air, Norwegian, Qantas, and Southwest Airlines.

While navigating to, from and through this major airport can be a lot to handle, it doesn’t have to be. Many of LAX’s terminal buildings are connected airside, so you can clear security at one and walk or shuttle to another. Tom Bradley International Terminal and terminals 2 and 3 are connected airside via shuttles, and Tom Bradley and terminals 4 — 8 are connected airside via walkways. Then to leave the airport, you can either use bus, light rail, car, ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, taxi, shuttle van, black car services or even helicopter.

LAX doesn’t have the best reputation, but that should change soon. The airport is undergoing a massive renovation project and is now home to a plethora of amenities, including over a dozen lounges, high-end shopping and a wide range of restaurants and bars. Travelers are also spoiled for choice when it comes to a layover hotel.

Here’s our comprehensive guide to everything this airport has to offer, from dining options to lounges, hotels, transportation options and more.

In This Post

Getting there

The airport is located about five miles from Manhattan Beach, nine miles from Santa Monica, 13 miles from Beverly Hills, 14 miles from Hollywood and 17 miles from Downtown LA. There are many ways to get to and from LAX, but some transportation options are better than others. Aside from having to take a shuttle to the designated ride-hailing lot, using Uber, Lyft or other ride-hailing services out of the airport is relatively easy and reasonably priced. A more cost effective option would be taking public transportation or a scheduled bus service, though it’s not very convenient. If you want to be picked up curbside, you’ll need to order a black car service.

Public transportation

While LA’s public transportation system still isn’t great (it’s improving!), you can shuttle to Lot South / LAX City Bus Center and transfer to a public bus. There’s also a shuttle bus to connect from LAX to the Metro Green Line, which connects to both the Metro Silver Line bus and Metro Blue Line light rail to take you into Downtown’s 7th/Metro Center station.

FlyAway offers frequent nonstop bus service between LAX and various parts of the city. (Photo courtesy of LAX)

Alternatively, you can hop on a FlyAway bus from LAX to Hollywood, Long Beach, Union Station (Downtown LA) or Van Nuys for $8 to $9.75, one-way. The buses pick up and drop off directly in front of the terminals. Tickets can be bought online or in person.

Transit time: Long

Cost: $

Related: The best credit cards for commuting

Ride-share

All ride-hailing pick-ups are at the “LAX-it” lot, a dedicated pick-up space adjacent to Terminal 1. Regardless of your arrival terminal, you have to take a shuttle or walk to this lot if you want to use a ride-hailing service — this includes apps like Uber and Lyft. Drop offs, however, remain in front of passengers’ respective terminals.

Related: The best credit cards for Uber and Lyft

Los Angeles International Airport moved all taxi and ride-hailing pick ups to the “LAX-it” lot in 2019. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Aside from that minor inconvenience, using Uber, Lyft or other ride-hailing services out of the airport is relatively easy and reasonably priced. Manhattan Beach is about 15 minutes away and would cost about $20 if you Uber, Santa Monica is about 30 minutes away and would cost $30, Beverly Hills is 35 minutes away and would cost $34, Hollywood is about 40 minutes away and would cost $40 and Downtown LA is 35 minutes away and would cost $32, but give yourself plenty of extra time with LA traffic. You can drive that price down by opting for a shared vehicle, but expect time to be added to your trip.

A bonus of the pick-up lot? It features food trucks, charging stations and restrooms for travelers while they wait for their rides.

Transit time: Medium

Cost: $$

Related: How to make sure you’re getting your Amex Platinum Uber credits

Taxi

Like Uber and Lyft, taxis currently pick up from the LAX-it lot, but drop off curbside. However, this will change later in March 2020. There will be designated taxi pickup areas on the ground floor of Parking Structure 3 (near Tom Bradley International Terminal and Terminal 3) and on the arrivals level past the last entrance to Terminals 7/8.

Taxis offer flat rates to various parts of the city. To give you a general idea, the flat rate to go to West Hollywood costs $44 and Downtown LA costs $50.50, including the $4 airport pickup surcharge.

Transit time: Medium

Cost: $$$

Car service

If you want to be picked up from the terminal curb front, you can request a black car service like Uber Black or GroundLink. It’s a more expensive option, but also much more convenient. Prearranged car services are especially great for families as they allow you to book car seats for children or send a note that you’re traveling with a pet.

If you request a meet and greet service, your driver will park and wait for you with a sign at the arrivals area and help you with your luggage. Otherwise, you’ll find your driver waiting outside at the arrivals level.

Transit time: Short

Cost: $$$$

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
Book a car service to be dropped off and picked up curbside. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Other options

If you’re renting a car, board your rental agency’s respective shuttle outside the terminal on the arrivals level. If family or friends offer to pick you up at the airport, Los Angeles Airport has a cellphone lot where they can wait for free for up to two hours or they can park for free for 15 minutes in one of the central terminal area parking structures.

If you’re traveling between LAX and Downtown LA and really want to skip traffic, you can book a Blade helicopter. The “Uber for aviation” service offers private airport transfers for $3,300, or you book a seat on a scheduled flight for $345, though unfortunately, the scheduled service doesn’t run as frequently as it does in NYC.

To help offset the cost of a BLADE helicopter ride, you can use the TPG referral code: BRIANF&F and receive $50 in BLADE credit.

The easiest way to avoid LA traffic is by flying over it. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Amenities

Like many airports, LAX offers free Wi-Fi throughout the airport and water-bottle filling stations in every terminal. For those traveling with a pet or emotional support animal, there are three pre-security animal relief areas, as well as one airside at every terminal except 8, per this map. For those missing their pets back home, for a few hours every week, there are therapy dogs greeting passengers in various LAX terminals and at the ground level of the Theme Building, part of the airport’s Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) program. There are also several permanent and rotating art installations throughout the airport, as well as live performances as part of the “LAX Presents” series.

Los Angeles is a shopping mecca, so as one would expect, the airport offers great shopping. The Great Hall in the TBIT offers the most options of any terminal for shopping with a Rodeo Drive-inspired retail boutique and duty-free shopping area. Some stores you’ll find here include Burberry, Bvlgari, Coach, Fred Segal, Gucci, Hermes, Tumi, Victoria’s Secret, Hugo Boss and more.

The shopping options in TBIT were inspired by those on Beverly Hills
The shopping options in TBIT were inspired by those on Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Other terminals are a bit more limited, but you’ll still find multiple MAC Cosmetics stores, multiple DFS Duty Free stores, multiple See’s Candies stores, a Kiehl’s store, and plenty newsstand-type stores.

Although the airport’s iconic Theme Building no longer offers meal service in the Encounter restaurant, there’s still an observation deck open on second weekend of each month (Saturdays and Sundays) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Alternatively, AvGeeks, especially aviation history enthusiasts, should consider heading to the Flight Path Museum at LAX, which is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and is free to enter. Aside from a treasure trove of flying collectibles, the museum has a Douglas DC-3 parked on the airport’s tarmac that you can go inside and terrific views of aircraft takeoffs and landings on the south runway complex.

Los Angeles International Airport
LAX’s Theme Building has an observation deck, but the hours are limited.

If you have a long layover and don’t want to wheel your luggage around with you, you can store your bags at LAX Luggage Storage for $12-$18 per day. You can drop off and pick up your bags at the facility yourself, though if you opt for the more convenient terminal curbside pick up and drop off, it’s $5 per item each way.

Lounges

Los Angeles International Airport has a wide range of lounge options to choose from, including some of the nicest in the nation. Whether you’re flying business or first class or simply looking to leverage your Priority Pass membership, you should have no trouble finding a place to relax and grab a bite to eat before your flight. If privacy is important to you and you don’t mind splurging, keep in mind that PS (formerly known as The Private Suite) is also an option.

Terminal 1

Unfortunately, there are no lounges in Terminal 1 and you can’t walk to another terminal without exiting security. Southwest is the only airline that operates out of this terminal.

Terminal 2

Delta Sky Club

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
The Terminal 2 Sky Club at LAX offers plenty of seats and many power outlets. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Location: Upstairs, on the mezzanine level

Hours: 4:30 a.m. — 12:30 a.m.

Access: Delta Gold Medallions and higher traveling internationally, SkyTeam Elite Plus members, premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from same-day SkyTeam international long-haul or premium transcontinental flights, Delta Sky Club members and cardholders of the Platinum Card® from American Express, the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card when traveling on any same-day Delta flight. Those with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card can purchase day passes for $39.

Related: The ultimate guide to Delta Sky Club access

Amenities: Complimentary hot and cold foods, wine, beer, spirits, Starbucks coffee, showers, Wi-Fi and power outlets.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is a swanky space. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic)

Location: Upstairs, on the mezzanine level (across the Sky Club)

Hours: 5 a.m. — last departure

Access: Priority Pass members (only until 11:30 a.m.), Upper Class passengers, Flying Club Gold members, Aer Lingus business class passengers and Delta One, Delta Platinum Medallion and Delta Diamond Medallion passengers with a same-day nonstop trans-Atlantic flight.

Amenities: A la carte dining (not available to Priority Pass members), full bar, Wi-Fi, power outlets near most seats and a great view of one set of the airport’s runways and the Hollywood Hills.

Terminal 3

Delta Sky Club (North and South)

LAX Terminal 3 - Delta Sky Club Food
The food spread at Delta’s Terminal 3 Sky Club at LAX. (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

Location: Upstairs, on the mezzanine level

Hours: 4:30 a.m. — 12:30 a.m. (North), 6 a.m. — 10 p.m. (South)

Access: Delta Gold Medallions and higher traveling internationally, SkyTeam Elite Plus members, premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from same-day SkyTeam international long-haul or premium transcontinental flights, Delta Sky Club members and cardholders of the Platinum Card® from American Express, the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card when traveling on any same-day Delta flight. Those with the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card can purchase day passes for $39.

Amenities: Complimentary hot and cold foods, wine, beer, spirits, Starbucks coffee, Wi-Fi and power outlets.

Tom Bradley International Terminal

Etihad First and Business Class Lounge

The bar offers specialty cocktails named for the cities Etihad serves, including, of course, Los Angeles. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Location: Level 6, around the corner from the Star Alliance Lounge

Hours: Three hours before departure — last departure

Access: Etihad first and business class passengers and Etihad Gold and Platinum members. Economy class passengers traveling on Etihad may purchase access for $60 or 7,000 miles.

Amenities: Sit-down dining and cold buffet, full bar, showers, prayer room, Wi-Fi and power outlets. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

Emirates Lounge

The Emirates Lounge at LAX measures in at over 9,000 square feet. (Photo courtesy of Emirates)

Location: Level 6, next to the Los Angeles International Lounge

Hours: 11:35 a.m. — 3:35 p.m. (winter), 12:40 p.m. — 4:40 p.m. (summer)

Access: Emirates first and business class passengers and Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold members. Day passes are available to all other Emirates passengers for $130 or $100 if you’re an Emirates Skywards member.

Amenities: Hot and cold foods, full bar, showers, prayer room, Wi-Fi and power outlets. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

Korean Air KAL Lounge

Enjoy the Villaraigosa Pavilion from your balcony seat. Behind the short glass wall, a space accessed only by First Class passengers.
Enjoy the Villaraigosa Pavilion from your balcony seat at the KAL Lounge. (Photo by J. Keith van Straaten/The Points Guy)

Location: Level 5, near the Qantas First Lounge

Hours: 7 a.m. — 11:30 p.m.

Access: Priority Pass, Diners Club, Lounge Club and Dragon Pass members (limited hours) and first and business class passengers and SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on an international flight operated by a SkyTeam airline.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Priority Pass program

Amenities: Light snacks, wine, beer, spirits, Wi-Fi, shower suites and power outlets near many seats. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

Los Angeles International Lounge

The LA International Lounge is pretty no-frills. (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

Location: Level 6, next to the Emirates Lounge

Hours: 6 a.m. — last departure

Access: Air Tahiti Nui, El Al, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Fiji Airways and Philippine Airlines first and business class passengers and Japan Airlines premium economy passengers.

Amenities: Light snacks, wine, beer, spirits, Starbucks coffee, Wi-Fi and power outlets.

Oneworld Business Lounge

There’s a full bar and an indoor fire pit at the Oneworld Business Lounge. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Location: Level 5, near the P.F. Chang’s

Hours: 6:30 a.m. — 11:30 p.m.

Access: Business and first class passengers and Oneworld Sapphire and Oneworld Emerald members traveling on eligible itineraries on any Oneworld airline. (American Airlines elites traveling solely on North American flights, except Mexico City, don’t have access.) Alaska Lounge members have access when traveling on Qantas.

Amenities: Hot and cold foods, full bar, showers, kids play area, Wi-Fi and power outlets. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

Star Alliance Lounge

The Star Alliance Lounge has a chic aesthetic. (Photo by Ravi Ghelani/The Points Guy)

Location: Level 6, near the central atrium

Hours: 7 a.m. — 10 a.m.

Access: First and business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members on eligible itineraries on any Star Alliance airline. (United elites and premium cabin passengers departing on a domestic flight don’t have access.) United Club and Air Canada Maple Leaf Club members also have access.

Amenities: Hot and cold foods, full bar, outdoor terrace, showers, Wi-Fi and power outlets. First class passengers have access to a separate first class lounge which offers a la carte dining and additional privacy. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

The outdoor patio at the Star Alliance lounge features a few pits and plenty of seating. (Photo courtesy of Star Alliance)

Qantas International First Lounge

The signature element of the Qantas International First Lounge is sit-down dining. (Photo by Kate Genter/The Points Guy)

Location: Level 5, near the Korean Air KAL Lounge

Hours: 6:30 a.m. — 11:30 p.m.

Access: First class passengers and Oneworld Emerald members traveling on eligible itineraries on any Oneworld airline. (American Airlines elites traveling solely on North American flights, except Mexico City, don’t have access.)

Amenities: A la carte dining, full bar, showers, Wi-Fi, power outlets. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

American Express Centurion Lounge

The Centurion Lounge at LAX measures a whopping 13,900 square feet. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Location: Level 4. There’s an entrance past security and another just down the escalator from the bridge that connects Terminal 4 and TBIT.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. — 11:00 p.m.

Access: Those with a Centurion Card, The Platinum Card from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express. Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business cardholders will also have access when traveling on any same-day Delta flight.

Amenities: Wide selection of tasty hot and cold foods, full bar, showers, a family room, spa, Wi-Fi and power outlets. Check out TPG’s first look of the lounge.

Related: A guide to Amex Centurion Lounges

There’s a full bar at the Centurion Lounge. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Terminal 4

American Airlines Admirals Club

The Terminal 4 Admirals Club offers fantastic views for plane spotting. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Location: Across gate 40

Hours: 4 a.m. — 12:45 a.m.

Access: AAdvantage Platinum elites and up traveling internationally, Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald and members, premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental American- or Oneworld-operated flights, Admirals Club and day pass-holders. You can get a complimentary Admirals Club membership through the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Related: The ultimate guide to American Airlines Admirals Club access

Amenities: Complimentary snacks and drinks, Wi-Fi, power outlets, children’s play area, showers and a conference room.

American Airlines Flagship Lounge

You’ll find extensive food and drink options at the Flagship Lounge. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Location: Across gate 40 (same entrance as the Admirals Club)

Hours: 4 a.m. — 12:45 a.m.

Access: AAdvantage Platinum elites and up traveling internationally, Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald and members and business and first class passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental American- or Oneworld-operated flights.

Amenities: Hot and cold foods, large self-serve bar, showers, Wi-Fi and many power outlets. First class passengers traveling on a three-cabin aircraft have access to the exclusive Flagship First Dining area. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

Terminal 5

American Airlines Admirals Club

AA's new LAX lounge is worth a visit if you're in the neighborhood.
The Terminal 5 Admirals Club is decently spacious. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Location: One level up from the gates, near the duty free store

Hours: 4:45 a.m. — 12 a.m.

Access: AAdvantage Platinum elites and up traveling internationally, Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald and members, premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental American- or Oneworld-operated flights, Admirals Club and day pass-holders. You can get a complimentary Admirals Club membership through the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Amenities: Complimentary snacks and drinks, showers, Wi-Fi and many power outlets. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

American Eagle Regional Terminal (Terminal 5)

American Airlines Admirals Club

Location: Across from gates 52D and 52E, after taking the bus to the remote terminal

Hours: 5:15 a.m. — 10:30 p.m.

Access: AAdvantage Platinum elites and up traveling internationally, Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald and members, premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental American- or Oneworld-operated flights, Admirals Club and day pass-holders. You can get a complimentary Admirals Club membership through the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Amenities: Complimentary snacks and drinks, Wi-Fi and power outlets.

Terminal 6

Alaska Lounge

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
The Alaska Lounge recently got a fresh look. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Location: On the mezzanine level, near Gate 64

Hours: 4:30 a.m. — 11 p.m.

Access: Alaska Airlines first class passengers (doesn’t include upgrades), Alaska Lounge members, Admirals Club members, and anyone purchasing a day pass ($50, or $25 if you use your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card). This lounge is also a part of the Priority Pass lounge network, though access is limited to three hours prior to departure and may be restricted due to space constraints.

Amenities: Complimentary snacks, barista-made Starbucks coffee, non-premium alcohol, Wi-Fi and many power outlets. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

The Maple Leaf Lounge is a great place to pass time before your flight. (Photo courtesy of Air Canada)

Location: On the mezzanine level, between gates 65A and 65B

Hours: 5:30 a.m. — 10:30 p.m.

Access: Air Canada business class passengers, Premium Rouge passengers traveling within Canada, to the U.S. and Sun destinations, Altitude Elite 35K elites and up and first and business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members on eligible itineraries on any Star Alliance airline. (United elites and premium cabin passengers departing on a domestic flight don’t have access.) Air Canada Maple Leaf Club and United Club members and select Canadian credit card holders also have access.

Amenities: Complimentary snacks and drinks, cell-free quiet zone, Wi-Fi and many power outlets.

USO Lounge

The new Bob Hope USO boasts over 7,100 square feet. (Photo courtesy of Tangram Interiors)

Location: Landside (before security) in the Theme Building, facing Terminal 6

Hours: 24 hours

Access: Current active-duty, Guard, Reserve or dependent ID card. Military retiree ID cards are also accepted if space is available. VA-issued ID cards or driver’s licenses with “Veteran” shown on the card do not fall into the above categories.

Amenities: Complimentary snacks and drinks, Wi-Fi, sleeping area, children’s play area, private family rooms, video game console, board games, outdoor space, showers, toiletries and quiet sleeping area.

Terminal 7

United Club

The Los Angeles United Club is one of the nicest in the airline’s network. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Location: Next to Gate 71A

Hours: 4:30 a.m. — 12:15 a.m.

Access: United Premier Gold elites and up traveling internationally, Star Alliance Gold members, premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental United- or Star Alliance-operated flights, United Club members and day pass-holders. You can get a complimentary United Club membership through the United Club Card. You can also get two annual one-time United Club passes through the United Explorer Card or the United Business Card.

The information for the United Club Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: The ultimate guide to United Club access

Amenities: Complimentary snacks and drinks, outdoor terrace, Wi-Fi and power outlets. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

United Polaris Lounge

You can enjoy a sit-down meal at the Polaris Lounge. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Location: Upstairs, between gates 73 and 75A

Hours: 6:45 a.m. — 10:15 p.m.

Access: United Polaris business class passengers and business and first class on Star Alliance partners

Amenities: Sit-down dining, buffet, full bar, showers, nap room, wellness room, Wi-Fi and power outlets. Check out TPG’s full review of the lounge.

Terminal 8

There are no lounges in Terminal 8, but Terminal 7 is just a short walk away and doesn’t require exiting security.

Bonus: Non-lounge Priority Pass options

In addition to the lounges above, Priority Pass partners with two restaurants at LAX — Rock & Brews in Terminal 1 and Point the Way Cafe in Terminal 6, that provide guests with access to a food credit of $28 (not including gratuity). This benefit is especially useful in Terminal 1 where there are no traditional lounges.

Just note that you do not get complimentary access to the restaurants if your Priority Pass membership was generated through an American Express card.

Related: Choose this, not that: LAX Priority Pass lounge edition

Dining

The airport has some terrific lounges, including ones with a la carte dining and outdoor bars, but you’ll need to be flying in a premium cabin or have elite status to access the ones with the good food and drink offerings. Everyone else looking for preflight grub will need to visit one of Los Angeles Airport’s restaurants or bars.

Luckily, travelers can sample some of the best of LA’s food scene without leaving the airport. From healthy options like açaí bowls from Earthbar or cold-pressed juices from Beaming Cafe, to artisanal burgers from Umami Burger or Cassell’s Hamburgers, to Neapolitan-style pizza from 800 Degrees to caviar and Champagne from Petrossian Caviar & Champagne Bar, LAX has even the pickiest of eaters covered. The airport features a number of local eateries with recognizable names such as Ashland Hill, Lamill Coffee, Trejo’s Tacos, Vanilla Bake Shop and Urth Caffé & Bar that use ingredients that are identical to those in their city locations. Even the LAX-it rideshare pickup lot offers a good variety of options from rotating food trucks — a staple of the city’s cultural identity.

Related: Where to eat and drink at LAX

(Photo courtesy of LAX)
Grab a burger from Cassell’s in terminal 1. (Photo courtesy of LAX)

However, LAX’s most popular dining option might just be the In-N-Out burger located on Sepulveda Blvd, just off the airport property. In-N-Out is a California institution, but what makes this one stand out is that it has picture-perfect views of the flight path into the airport, a mecca for anyone who loves plane spotting. Heck, some AvGeeks arrange trips to California, specifically to come here and photograph airplanes. If you have a few hours between flights, you can enjoy your planespotting with a burger and feel like you got a real LA experience. It is relatively walkable from Terminal 1, but you’ll want to leave the airport from the arrivals level as the sidewalk on the departures level is very narrow. Savvy travelers used to get to In-N-Out by hopping on the complimentary shuttle for the nearby Parking Spot lot, but the lot has since made it clear that their shuttle is for “paying customers only” and now requires your car’s entry ticket (or a flash of the free Spot Club card).

Related: How I became an AvGeek in a week: Plane spotting at the In-N-Out in LAX

Airplane flying over the In-n-Out Burger near LAX. (Photo by anouchka / Getty Images_
The FlightRadar24 app is great for seeing what plane is arriving next. (Photo by anouchka/Getty Images)

Airport hotels

Although no hotel is connected directly to the airport, all of the hotels in the area offer free shuttle services. If your layover isn’t overnight and you’re simply looking for a quiet place to shower and regroup before your next flight, call the hotel and inquire about a day-rate room.

Related: The best hotels for a layover at LAX

The Sheraton Gateway is often an overall solid choice. The shuttle runs frequently, the rooms are well-appointed, and the hotel has wonderful views of the airport. Nightly rates range from $96 to $339 , including taxes, for the cheapest-available room, depending on the date. Alternatively, you could redeem 20,000 to 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for a night here.

Standard rooms at the Sheraton Gateway are comfortably sized. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

If you have Hyatt elite status, you may prefer the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport for its impressive club lounge. Or, if you’re an AvGeek, you’ll want to stay at the H Hotel for its spectacularly well-placed 12th floor terrace, which has truly exceptional views of the airport. Other solid options include the Westin Los Angeles Airport and the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport.

Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency’s club lounge. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Further reading:

Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.

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